We had a vision. We wanted a set of climbing shoes to cover the spectrum of technical climbing, bouldering and everything in between. They would be shoes that could defeat any boulder problem, any steep overhang, any wall. They would edge, smear, toe in, but also stand alone. They would be a family of shoes.
Meet the family Instinct.
One could argue the favorite child is the Instinct VS, the tool for versatile precision and performance in a streamlined package. Moderately downturned, the VS utilizes a powerful, slipper-like elastic top, and then improves control, power and fit with a floating Velcro power strap. The two part sole, with 3 millimeter thick Vibram XS Edge rubber, allows the front and back of the shoe to work independently of one another for dynamic climbing. “I like the VS on steeper routes with techy feet,” says SCARPA athlete Gord McArthur. “I find that it toes in amazingly well, which in turn gives me the confidence to step off the smallest of edges. I’m working a route right now where there’s one move on super steep terrain that has the tiniest hold. But when I wear the VS on this route, that foothold doesn’t even phase me.”
The younger sibling to the VS, the Instinct S slipper is also adept for seriously steep terrain. It’s a slightly softer shoe, “so when your weight is upside down,” says McArthur, “that shoe keeps your feet in.” The Instinct S uses XS Grip 2, a softer rubber that works in concert with the more supple, synthetic Microsuede upper slip-on design for acute sensitivity and high performance, whether you’re bouldering or cragging.
The Microsuede synthetic leather uppers move with the contortions of your feet, but won’t lose its structural consistency the same way that a leather shoe will over time. The result is a shoe that combines high performance for bouldering, sport climbing or hard trad with a surprising amount of comfort. “I use the Instinct S on slab to very steep terrain,” says SCARPA athlete, Sam Elias. “It’s a great training/gym shoe, and is easy on, easy off. I like it mostly for bouldering, but definitely use them at the sport crag.”
The award-winning Instinct is the foundation of the family – the traditional suede lace-up workhorse that’s all big-mountain business. Also sporting the Bi-Tension active randing, the Instinct maximizes toe precision and power, while the rubber toe patch provides nuanced toe-scumming strength. “If you had one lace-up shoe, that would be my choice,” says McArthur. “Whether I’m tackling vertical terrain on techy footholds, steep terrain or heel hooking to stay on, that shoe allows my footwork to be fitted with readiness.”
Which member of the Instinct family is right for you?